London. 1854. For years, Fern Hall has lived in an orphanage in the East End of London. It’s a brutal life of endless chores and punishments for even the smallest infractions. She’s able to escape it for a time when she’s hired out as a temporary maid to the wealthy Hawk family, but a servant’s lot is little better.
Gerard Hawk, the second son of the prosperous merchant, is drawn to Fern from their very first meeting when she comes to work for his parents. When Fern is falsely accused of a crime, Gerard is the only one who believes her innocence.
She is forced to flee, leaving behind everything – and everyone – she has ever known. A year and a half later, Fern and Gerard meet again accidentally, but the gap between their circumstances is wider than ever. Now in love with Gerard, Fern despairs of anything ever changing in her life.
Then, something mysterious from Fern’s past surfaces. Can Fern gather the courage to see it through? Is change really a possibility, at last?